The Ideal of a Rational Morality: Philosophical Compositions

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Clarendon Press, 2002 - Philosophy - 333 pages
The Ideal of a Rational Morality collects the most important essays by the distinguished moral philosopher Marcus G. Singer. Its guiding theme is the concept of a morality based in reason, which is presupposed in ordinary moral contexts and provides an ideal for improving ordinary morality andcorrecting moral judgements. Singer makes compelling claims that certain fundamental presuppositions are inescapable in moral thought, that fundamental moral principles can be proved, and that the concepts of truth and 'common sense' are essential to ethics.Subsequent essays proceed to analyse the nature of value judgements and of moral judgements, emphasising the vital importance of certain basic distinctions. There is a discussion of race and racism, presenting new ideas about the nature of both. The relation of law to morality is considered, as arethe relations between moral judgements of individual persons and the actions and moral judgements of institutions, leading to an examination of the relations between moral issues and social problems. A particularly well-known essay on the Golden Rule is reproduced, where Singer's analysis shows itto be applicable and defensible as it stands, and finally the nature of happiness is explored through a discussion of John Stuart Mill's moral philosophy.Each essay is supplemented by a set of Additional Notes and Comments, with supplementary pieces and response to criticisms. The Ideal of a Rational Morality will be fascinating reading for anybody seeking rigour and clarity in ethical issues.
 

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Contents

Citations and Abbreviations
6
On Truth in Ethics
34
Moral Theory and Justification
43
Reflections on Rawls
50
Ethics and Common Sense
84
Value Judgements and Normative Claims
123
Moral Worth and Fundamental Rights
152
On Race and Racism
159
Judicial Decisions and Judicial Opinions
190
Institutional Ethics
214
Moral Issues and Social Problems
239
The Golden Rule
264
Mills Stoic Conception of Happiness and Pragmatic Conception
293
Index
315
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About the author (2002)

Marcus George Singer is Emeritus Professor of Philosophy, University of Wisconsin-Madison.

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